Woodward, Okla. —
Leadership capabilities, self-reliance, preparedness and teamwork.
Those were the goals for 50 scouts and adults who set out on a 3-day backpacking trip south of Vici on Friday, Feb. 21. The Ouachita Trek Shakedown is one of 3 mandatory backpacking trips the Scouts need to complete in order to earn their Backpacking Merit Badge.
Scouts and leaders from Mooreland troop 262 and Woodward troops 251 and 254 headed up the trail carrying packs weighing between 40 and 60 pounds.
“They are essentially transporting a house on their backs,” said Russell McLain, Mooreland Scout master. Packs contain sleeping bags, food, first aid kits, water, stoves, anything needed for daily life on the trip.
The trip was a 12 mile out and back trek. The Scouts needed to be prepared to endure any type of weather unless it becomes life threatening. Many of the troop members are trained in wilderness first aid, which is an Eagle Scout Merit badge.
McLain is proud of the troop's great leaders.
“They have been a tremendous amount of help,” he said, “Without them I would not have been able to pull off the Shakedown."
McLain said the Scouts break up into patrols of four or five with older Scouts leading the patrols and they know what is required to make the trek successful.
The object for the Backpacking Merit badge is to learn how to protect the environment by traveling and camping without leaving a trace. Requirements include being able to treat water, read a topographic map, and prepare properly for and deal with inclement weather.
Scouts who complete the Shakedown will participate in the Ouachita Trek. The March event will be a 5 day, 25to 50 mile trek along the Ozark Highland Trail.